Well, the New Year is finally upon us. Some of my favorite moments are those great end of the year stories. Here are a few food related ones that caught my eye. While we’re obsessed with e-coli and mad cow disease breakout, we have developed some new twists on ‘when pigs fly.’ Like the web designer who’s suing a NYC Scandinavian themed restaurant for the 150 pound decorative moose head with 3-foot-wide antlers that fell off the wall and hit her; got to love that one. Or, how about the rights of farshtoppte katchkas? We now have a politically correct foie gras being produced. Ducks and geese no longer have to suffer forced feeding and the resulting engorged livers sustained to indulge a connoisseur’s palate.
This year, on a more serious note, we were forced to take a look at our own production standards. Aside from the Madoff driven stock market fall, we had the tremendous fall from grace of one of our own primary meat processing plants. It’s kind of ironic that this year we have witnessed record numbers at food banks and soup kitchens around the nation, and that that same meat producer had fed thousands with his charitable food bank work.
On another note, Raymond Sokolov, of the Wall Street Journal, in a piece entitled Exceptional Food Moments of 2009, described “Mr. Obama continued his foray into ethnogastropolitics by engaging New York-based, Ethiopian-Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson to cook the administration’s first state dinner, an Indian-fusion meal for the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.” A vegetarian dish, by the way, “which included roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chickpeas and okra or green curry prawns, caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut-aged basmati rice.” Yum yum! Who would have ever thought that we would move from glasnost to ethnogastropolitics with Swedish Ethiopian chefs preparing dishes at the White House for a black president of the United States of America? Truly Moshiach is on his way! When you think about it, the ethnogastropolitics concept has been a bona-fide component of our Jewish history and our accompanying tales of persecution. From libels of blood mixed with matzo to kashrus on the run from one pogrom to another, our very make-up is a testament to surviving that particular political combination.
Wishing all our readers a happy, productive and successful secular New Year 2010! May the fiscal New Year be Madoff free, swine flu free, ethnogastropolically correct, and may no moose heads fall upon us.